St. George St. Saint Augustine March 24, 2020

Apocalyptic Dating

Yes, this pandemic does not qualify as an apocalypse, at least not yet. The sense, the pervading emotions, however, lead me down an emotionally apocalyptic path. I realize I do tend to be “all-in” emotionally. I’ve been respected and reviled for this aspect of who I am.

The most amazing sense of self for me is that I’ve reached a point where I truly enjoy and like who I am. The people who criticize and deride no longer hold sway over me. Yes, they still inflict pain, but life itself is pain. And joy. And love. And passion. And heartache. And heartbreak. (yes, they are two different experiences).

I’ve been “dating” online off and on for the past couple years. Most of the “dates” fell into two categories. One, the lady misrepresented herself. Two, the date felt like a job interview. Neither of those strike me as desirable.

I did mention “most” of the dates went those directions. There are two other directions, far fewer, as in only a couple each. One, I liked the lady and desired more time to get to know her. Two, I felt a connection and genuinity from the lady. The first category here met with no-goes. I get it, just because I liked the lady does not mean she connected with me.

The second. Ah, yes, the second. Let’s spend a moment on this one.

The pandemic and fear rages all around. I strike up a conversation with a woman who sound fascinating. She’s gung ho for meeting despite the closures of just about everything. My hopeless romantic/writer nature kicks in. I LOVE this! Now THAT’s dating in the apocalypse, or at least a peek at doing so.

We meet. At a place of her choosing. A secluded place, which surprised me. I’m thinking, “Wow! This woman is really cool!” We met, and immediately her bravado was tempered. Somewhere in my mind I had envisioned at least hugging or even a sanitized handshake. After all, she’s willing to meet a complete stranger in a pandemic. (I know. Give me all the grief you like about social distancing and the like. I’m not interested).

As we spoke, she revealed a much more disciplined, less outgoing personality. The meeting became a fact-finding, job interview type discourse. I could tell early on. I get it. We all desire who we desire. For my emotional currency, connection outweighs details and facts. Emotion and attraction do not grow from analytics. In fact, they fly in the face of that cold wasteland of judgment.

She offered “friendship” in a message a few hours after we parted. Clinically parted. While it was nice that I passed a certain level of the “test,” I have no need of a relationship like that.

Then, two days later, in a more heightened pandemic reality, I meet with a most genuine, fun, witty, intelligent woman. We strolled the abandoned streets of St. Augustine for hours. St. George Street on a gorgeous day totally devoid of crowds. Only a few dog-walkers, skate borders, and homeless people. The pic shows how surrealistically the Old Town was/is deserted.

We talked about many things. We cracked jokes. We enjoyed the time. In fact, mosquitoes finally chased us back to her car where we parted with a nice hug. So many enjoyable exchanges between us made the three or four hours we walked together feel like minutes. That’s what I’m searching for.

This woman is genuine. Honest. That word – honesty. I would say most of the women I have “dated” from the online site could be described, especially in their own minds, as honest. The honesty of which I write here, however is the honesty most of these women could not see. They were not honest with themselves on the whole. Most of them live in an emotional desperation which they actually cover with bravado.

That’s for another post someday. The point here is that after 15 dates, number 16 gave me hope and a glimpse that I was not mired in a pointless, fruitless endeavor. My challenge here is to collect my thoughts and feelings about the Apocalypse Date and place it poetically on this site since my goal when I post here is to create a poem from experience. Here goes…

Creaking Doors and Wind-blown Dreams

Your smile engaged
My interest piqued
You offered a hand
Soft. Sleek.

We strolled dead streets
Thirsty for life
No caution in the wind
No pursuit of strife

Two souls on a quest
Bucking the norm
Tendrils of connection
No threatening storm

Echoed footsteps
Creaking door
Rekindled dreams
Lie in wait and more

Hearts met in kind
Gentle and true
There existed no them
Simply me. And You.

Worth every minute
Worth every smile
Our journey successful
Each step of our miles

Embers so dormant
Feel long awaited sparks
A chance to billow to life
Explore oceans and parks

If for no reason
Save the knowledge of hope
Our time spent together
Delivers dreams to my scope

Wind-blown and tattered
As years held their sway
Still a hopeless romantic
Until my dying day.

Thank you Sherry…